Re: Dissertations have been written on less

1

Humphrey: not a pain in the ass
Muskie: not a pain in the ass
McGovern: not a pain in the ass
Eagleton: Not a pain in the ass
Shriver: Not a pain in the ass
Mondale: Not a pain in the ass
Gore: Not a pain in the ass

At best, you might be able to do some statistical significance tests to show that being a losing nominee is associated with a slightly higher incidence of being a pain in the ass than a control group, but the strong form of the hypothesis doesn't stand up to a moment's scrutiny.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
2

Kerry is an ambiguous case: I thought he was being a pain in the ass when he flirted with running again in 2008, but since then I hold him in reasonably high regard.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
3

oh hell. I honestly intended to say VICE-presidential nominee, but in my rush to troll I f'ed up. Seriously.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
4

Lloyd Bentsen wasn't too bad.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:06 AM
horizontal rule
5

I think Eagleton was the only one who was unsuccessful at being the Democratic nominee.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:07 AM
horizontal rule
6

You want to find a population where pain-in-the-assness is endemic? Losing candidates for the Republican nomination.

John McCain (obvs), Steve Forbes, Phil Gramm, Gary Bauer, Orrin Hatch, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Lamar Alexander, Pat Buchannon, Duncan Hunter, Bob Dornan, Alan Keyes, Dan Quayle, Elizabeth Dole.... The list goes on.

Only Huckabee and Bob Dole (who eventually won the nomination) stand out as exceptions.

In fairness, most of those people were pains in the ass before they sought the nomination.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
7

Lloyd Bentsen was great! Mondale wasn't a pain in the ass.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
8

I honestly intended to say VICE-presidential nominee, but in my rush to troll I f'ed up. Seriously.

You still have to account for Muskie, Eagleton, Shriver, Mondale, and Bentsen, none of whom (with the possible exception of Bentsen at certain moments) became a pain in the ass.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:11 AM
horizontal rule
9

Although I always confuse Lloyd Bentsen and Lloyd Bridges and imagine Lloyd Bridges in his scuba suit saying "by then my lungs were aching for Jack Kennedy, and you're no Jack Kennedy."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:11 AM
horizontal rule
10

Wasn't Bentsen a DINO of the Kerrey type?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
11

If only I could classify the shock treatments as a pain in the ass....


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
12

FDR: not a pain in the ass. Kefauver: not a pain in the ass. Sparkman: may have been a pain in the ass.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
13

Wasn't Bentsen a DINO of the Kerrey type?

No, he was a DINO of the Breaux type.

In all fairness, he was a good and loyal member of the Clinton cabinet, whose performance looks even better in comparison to the parade of fools that followed him.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
14

12: Henry Wallace: definitely a pain in the ass.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
15

IIRC, Brad DeLong has spoken extremely favorably of Lloyd Bentsen's management skills at Treasury.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
16

Also: LBJ: definitely a pain in the ass, but in the best possible sense of the phrase.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
17

Humphrey: not a pain in the ass
Muskie: not a pain in the ass

Tell that to George McGovern.


Posted by: earth thing | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
18

Lloyd Bentsen wasn't too bad.

Well, we certainly don't expect him to cause any trouble this year.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
19

Were any of those people not pains in the ass before they sought the nomination?

Maybe Lamar!.

Looking at the primaries in 1980 and 1988 (those I have no memory of), it seems that most of the losing candidates were people who had been prominent for decades and would soon cease to draw major media attention. Thus they became less annoying than they had been before.

John Connally, Howard Baker, Phil Crane (I have never heard of that guy), Paul Laxalt, Alexander Haig, and Pierre S. "Pete" du Pont, IV.

exception: Jack Kemp


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
20

But LBJ wasn't ever an unsuccessful VP nom, right?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
21

#19 is about Republicans, not the original post.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
22

The dreadful thing is how often these people are chosen to "balance" the supposed liberalism of the candidate. That thinking means they'll be coming from the rightmost part of the party. Not true of all, for instance Edwards, but a partial explanation for their unpleasantness after they've been elevated. They were chosen to reach for constituencies not solid for the party, and that's the kind of people they are.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
23

20: I'd say he's one of the top 3 most successful nominees ever, prob. # 2.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
24

12: Henry Wallace: definitely a pain in the ass.

Boy howdy!

Does anybody here have a family tradition of support for Wallace's '48 bid? I'm thinking Katherine might, but it can be hard to say on these things.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:25 AM
horizontal rule
25

Does anybody here have a family tradition of support for Wallace's '48 bid?

Not me, my kinfolks were with Strom Thurmond all the way.

(Just kidding: they were New Dealers to their dying breath.)


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:27 AM
horizontal rule
26

WTF? You people know who your ancestors voted for in '48?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
27

Does anybody here have a family tradition of support for Wallace's '48 bid?

How can you have a tradition that revolves around a one-time deal? Unless you mean that, say, every four years the family lights a candle in Wallace's memory.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
28

Here in Iowa, we have a proud tradition of embracing native-born pain-in-the-ass political figures that everyone else edges slowly away from: Hoover and Wallace. If Jimmy Carter wasn't filling the gig, Hoover could make a pretty good run at the Shitty President Who Was Actually A Really Good Guy In Almost Every Other Respect Award, and Wallace's house and tomb still draw tourists. (OK, not particularly fun tourists, but their money's still good.)


Posted by: Ubu Imperator | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
29

I know my dad's votes from '36, because he talked about it, to illustrate what he was thinking at the time, and how it might have changed looking back. Also my MIL's, on the same grounds, the difference between the atmosphere of Stevenson '52 and '56, and the lack of enthusiasm for JFK, etc. I did think that would be, if not universal, common, yes.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:51 AM
horizontal rule
30

27: yes.

There are several feasts, on St. Rexford Tugwell's Day, St. Felix Frankfurter's Day, St. Adolf Berle's Day, etc. The full names need to be used because St. Adolf made some recruits uneasy.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:51 AM
horizontal rule
31

I know how my mother's maternal grandparents voted: Republican every time. They were kind of upset about the introduction of the Federal Income Tax. My maternal grandmother voted this way as well. She just looked to see the R and voted that way. This bothered at least two of her children a lot.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:55 AM
horizontal rule
32

In Edwards's case, the effect apparently worked retroactively!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:58 AM
horizontal rule
33

You people know who your ancestors voted for in '48?

Sure. Zachary Taylor.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:20 PM
horizontal rule
34

Huckabee

You're kidding when you say he isn't a pain in the ass, aren't you? Or are you saying he stands out as an exception in that he's an exceptional pain in the ass? He's aw-shucksing and shit-eating-grinning at you but behind his back I swear to all the gods he is sharpening a fillet knife and wondering how long you'd take to cure.

You people know who your ancestors voted for in '48?

Gods yes, and for years before.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:44 PM
horizontal rule
35

Can we get a working definition of "pain in the ass?"


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 12:56 PM
horizontal rule
36

Can we get a working definition of "pain in the ass?"

Labs' member.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:08 PM
horizontal rule
37

"I've played with Labs' member; I've sat upon Labs' member. You, Senator Quayle, have not got Labs' member."


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:16 PM
horizontal rule
38

Unsuccessful Jewish vice-presidential candidates have been a pain in the ass.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:25 PM
horizontal rule
39

You people know who your ancestors voted for in '48?

Whenever my grandfather strongly agreed or disagreed with a politician, newspaper editor, or columnist, he wrote them a letter. I have a box of his carbon copies and whatever replies he received. There are letters to JFK about how the campaign's message was being received locally, vociferous criticism of Reagan (always referred to as "Reagan the Pagan") twenty years before his election, etc. I keep meaning put some of them online, but I never have.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:50 PM
horizontal rule
40

IIRC, Brad DeLong has spoken extremely favorably of Lloyd Bentsen's management skills at Treasury.

I love Brad, but he's not a totally reliable source.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:58 PM
horizontal rule
41

Hop to it, Populuxe! I'd love to read them.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
42

Like Robusto, I'm pretty sure I know how all my ancestors voted between about 1860 and about 1968. It's a one-word answer for the lot of them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
43

You people know who your ancestors voted for in '48?

I'm certain my grandparents on my mother's side voted for Dewey because they have ever and always been Republican. Whether my Alabama grandparents voted for Truman or Thurmond, I wouldn't know. I doubt they'd admit it now if it were Strom, but it was still Alabama in the '40s, so I wouldn't be surprised.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
44

It's a one-word answer for the lot of them.

Carp.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:09 PM
horizontal rule
45

There is a district in Tennessee that's been Republican since 1860. They were Unionists in 1860 and stayed Republican afterwards. When the rest of the South started moving away from the Democrats 1948-1968, they didn't have to do anything. They just welcomed the lost sheep with open arms. They certainly didn't switch Democrat.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:07 PM
horizontal rule
46

45: There is a sad and fascinating anecdote in Rick Perlstein's Before the Storm about a controversy over seating the Tennessee delegation at the 1964 Republican convention. I don't remember all the details, but there was an African-American woman who had represented the Party of Lincoln in Tennessee for decades. When the Goldwater people revived the party organization in Tennessee by recruiting segregationists (the embryo of Nixon's Southern Strategy), they refused to be seated with the poor woman. The outcome of the dispute (which you can probably guess), Perlstein implies, prefigures a lot of subsequent history of Republican strategy on racial politics.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 6:02 AM
horizontal rule